A (mostly fictional) Beard History in pictures
Today growing a beard is a special thing. It is even seen as rebellious and unseemly in some circles. This wasn’t always the case, though.
Ah, to be alive during the glory days of beards, when a proper beard and a nice hat were the mark of good grooming and etiquette.
Unless you were a minority… or a woman… or, you know, not rich… yeah, okay, so the good ‘ol days weren’t all that great.
But the beards were pretty awesome, you have to admit. Factoid: Even though men with beards are often discriminated against and harassed, do you know who invented the beard?
So the next time you find your beard being sized up by airport security, just remember than it’s your beard that sets you apart from the un-bearded heathens that will have to answer for their sins in the afterlife.
From the time that God invented the beard, the next trillion years or so were actually pretty boring in beard history. Then this guy showed up:
Jesus’ dispute with the Roman empire is widely documented, and the details are bickered about endlessly. But there is one thing that everyone from Richard Dawkins to the Pope totally agree on: The Romans also had beards.
Yes, the Romans didn’t take too kindly to Jesus, although it’s worth pointing out that their own Gods (basically the same as the Ancient Greek Gods) were also depicted with beards, as in the case below:
But the point is, no matter what creed you belong to, deities themselves ushered in the golden age of beards which lasted until very recently.
As much as I would like to showcase photos of every beard that in that time, unfortunately most of the photographic evidence for such an archive remain buried in a secret vault deep in the desert of Utah.
Actually, I should mention that there’s a wonderful documentary about the beards of ancient Greece:
In Ancient Rome, there were a group of philosophers known as the stoics that remain very influential today. Although we can trace the lineage of their ideas down through the ages, only one was a true badass bearded brother.
Marcus Aurelius may have been the greatest national leader, author, and philosopher the world has ever seen, and that’s not just because of his beard. He said lots of cool things that even people today like to put on motivational posters:
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your beard.
He who lives in harmony with his beard lives in harmony with the universe.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your beard: therefore, groom accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
Yes, we have bearded men to thank for everything from the creation of the universe, to philosophy and happiness itself. What if I told you that the entire field of science and technology exists thanks to one bearded man?
How’s this nomination for the most interesting man in the world?: Leonardo DaVinci is STILL ALIVE. He keeps himself in shape by becoming a martial arts expert, then decided to shape shift into a turtle. The world thought he was dead, so he retired to New York City where he spends his evenings patrolling the city’s underground for bad guys.
Let’s re-cap. Here is our running tally of fields the world has bearded men to thank for:
- All of creation (God)
- Modern religion (Jesus. Muhammad and Confucius also deserve some credit here, and they were both bearded)
- Note: It is often disputed whether or not Buddhism can be considered a religion, rather than a creed or code. Also note: It’s founder, Siddhartha, did not have a beard. The moral to the story: If you’re gonna do something, give i all you’ve got. Grow a beard, son!
- Philosophy, leadership, self-help books (Marcus Aurelius)
- All of science -oh yeah, and art too- Plus, NYC’s plummeting crime rate over the last 20 years (Leonardo Davinci)
See anything missing? Well, how about written communication? That’s right, while most writing systems evolved organically over time, Sejong the Great, the 4th King of Joseon-dynasty Korea, sat down and invented a damn writing system!
This pretty much brings us up to the modern era. I’m planning another epic post like this on the topic of beards and modern politics, but for now, the next time someone gives you shit about your beard, just remember this:
All those poor, clean-shaven, shmucks running around out there have us bearded brothers to thank for literally everything they enjoy in their comfortable little life. Enjoy your indoor plumbing, science, modern architecture, cities, cars, helicopters, religion, and philosophy, you ungrateful little shiny-faces.
Tags: beard history